Ensemble Discovers the Power of the Storyteller

Despite a short-lived power outage during the morning general session at the Ensemble Conference the keynote speaker did not miss a beat, reports PressToday’s Ilona Kauremszky from the show.

Instead Kindra Hall, a national storytelling champion who is also the president and chief strategy officer of a marketing agency Steller Collective, took the opportunity to relay through visually descriptive words what the delegates were missing in that temporary interlude.

“First you have to find the story,” she storms ahead. Suddenly the lights pop on as she raises her arms. The crowd woo-hoos in unison. Not a second unhinges the morning session as power returned to this tony stretch of Nassau.

Filling the 1-Page Gap

Today’s travel professional, the audience heard, relies more on filling the space. That 1-page gap you have after all your research is complete. Why does storytelling work so well? “Clients want to hear it,” she says, and adds the strength of selling brands is not to buy the thing. “(The client) buys the story of what the thing will mean to them,” she says and later notes, “your customers can tell their friends.”

Hall observes, “People still want to do business with people and a story has an interesting ability to present a value.” In the travel industry, travel professionals are selling intangibles, the experience.

A case study of online Ebay purchases indicated the personalized stories behind 200 objects worth $250 total actually resulted in $8,000 sales, a 3100 percent increase, based on the narratives. “People buy the story on what the thing means to them.”

For instance, a $1 pink toy horse sold on Ebay for $104.50 due to the product description about a mother who hoped the next child would have as much joy from the toy as her college-bound daughter once had.

“It’s not the excursions, the hotel rooms, it’s the experiences,” she says on finding compelling stories that relate to your customers to help close the sale.

The next time you engage with your client get their stories without thinking of the traditional story sections, beginning, middle and end. “From now on I want you to think about it like this. Normal, explosion, and new normal.”

Kindra’s Tips on Strategic Storytelling:

  • The Normal — Tell us what the client was hoping for. What were they thinking about?
  • The Explosion — This part is the decision for the trip booking.
  • The New Normal – This part is the result in booking the trip.

Picture a super stressed client. He never took time off work. Even his friends said he was losing out. He didn’t know if he had any money for the trip. It was a tough time for this guy. “But then he found you,” she says, describing the client’s changing mood after the agent got to know the needs, interests and expectations for the client’s vacay.

The post-trip result? “Now he’s super stoked. He’s winning awards. He’s refreshed from the trip. He has money to spare.”

It’s your client’s new normal.